Stretching the tape collection

Naturally, the question that’s always asked is, “what are you going to do with all those tapes? What do you want them for?”

Valid indeed, and usually met by the default answer of “Some kind of museum.”

“I’ll keep you posted. Now shut up and gimme those tapes. Oh, and any CDs or laptops you don’t want anymore either? Thanks, I’ll take those, too!”

And yes, people have been eager to give me their old tapes — most keen, in fact. Were it not for the little detail that I’m not particularly interested in it right now, this aspect of generosity could almost be part of a study in the human psyche itself.

I know I’ll regret this present state of ignorance in years to come.

Besides, someone else has already written an entire thesis about mixtape culture and user interfaces, and I’ve already touched on the subject of men providing the bulk and women supplying the ones with the prettiest and revealing cover art. There’s no need for repetition.

Tape Art

There simply isn’t the time or space to discuss the casual observations that those people listening to metal/rock/alternative/darkwave/punk stuff had a preference for Maxell tapes (which were largely black). There’s no need to mention that the majority of Beatles-related recordings were on TDK, that 120-minute BASF chrome tapes were popular choices by those recording political radio broadcasts, or how some had an affinity for Scotch tapes while most others preferred Sony or TDK.

Besides, any results based on this batch would be too localised and biased, totally ignoring what people in places like Poland, Peru, Pakistan, or Palau did with their tapes.

Heap of tapes

While my idea isn’t an entirely revolutionary one, it is genuinely mine and mine alone. Other folks, elsewhere and independently, have had the same spark which, in a way, provides some sort of competition, if you will — although that’s by no means the prime motivator. But at least I can compare notes. The tapes are merely the carrot at the end of a stick.

Some old dogs want to learn new tricks.

As per the previous blog posting, I’ve taken a great leap in achieving my final goal.

In total, I’ve amassed and (pre-)processed an estimated 4000 (four thousand) tapes. They got split into two heaps: useful (about 1700), and not useful (about 2300) — give or take 200 either way on either heap.

Those classified as “useful” were further subdivided into another batch for my future “museum” (that’s about 600 alone for Project 3A), another batch for some “illuminating” crafts ideas (Project 3B), one more select group for a different artistic venture (Project 3C), and then a few that may find their way to a similar maniac in Paris.

If nothing else I’ll have company in my little padded room.

This project has given me the chance to live out some stupid childish dream. I’ve seen, handled and own tapes that I could never afford as a kid or as a younger person when they were still the preferred music piracy medium. I’ve travelled many a mile to fetch people’s old collections, I’ve met and talked to many nice and friendly people along the way, and I’ve listened to music and recordings I’d normally not have opportunity or bothered to listen to otherwise.

And as a result, my CD shopping list has grown.

The original value of those cassettes must’ve been in the thousands of dollars/euros.

Now I’ll have trouble getting rid of them.

Photo credits: hmvh DOT net

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